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Sims family
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Sims Family collection.

  • SCA369-GA427
  • Fonds
  • 1833-1963

The Sims family collection encompasses records of the Sims and Cook, Davidson and Garden families retained by members of the two family branches that came together when Harvey James Sims and Florence Katherine Roos married in 1902. Their Sims and Davidson forbears were equally significant in the history of the Waterloo-Wellington area and in the growth and development of agriculture, education, business and government. Harvey James Sims and Florence Katherine Roos were deeply involved in their local community of Berlin, (later Kitchener) Ontario and their own records contain significant additions to our knowledge of local personalities and affairs. Harvey was a childhood and lifelong friend of William Lyon Mackenzie King; they wrote and visited each other regularly. King's sister Bella was also a close friend of Florence from school days on.

Sims family

Garden, Robert to Margaret, Jane, and Jessy Garden.

Partial letter from [Robert?] Garden dated London, 31 October, 1833, to "Dear Sisters," followed by a long disquisition on the proper response of women to changes in their circumstances: "It is the smile of contentment which ought to be on your lips even in the midst of the greatest difficulty." It is not made clear whether actual changes in circumstance in the financial or social standing Garden family are behind this well-meaning attempt to stave off discontent in the sisters. This is possibly from Garden sisters' brother Robert Garden.

Sims family

Garden, John to Margaret, Jane, and Jessie Garden.

Letter to Margaret, Jane, and Jessie dated London, September 11, 1835 from their brother John Garden, in which he reports on the sad state of his health and wardrobe, asks for shirts and collars, but particularly for "flannel drawers and a surcoat." He reports that on reading Jessie's letter "an overpowering sort of sensation thrilled through me, such as I have not felt since I came here … never did I wish so much to be home" (includes envelope).

Sims family

Forbes, Margaret to Margaret Garden.

Letter from Margaret Forbes dated Inverury, October 4, 1835 addressed to Miss Garden, 204 Gallowgate, Aberdeen, hoping that Margaret will visit after the communion: "It always gives me pleasure to know that you have been favoured with such a Minister, who is likely to be zealous, in the cause of Christ … while God gives much grace to your young minister, he also will be the means of comforting you." She goes on to say, "We at present are well supplied with Gospel ministers, I pray for us, that the Spirit may accompany their labours," and ends by sending love to Jane and Jessy and hopes all can visit or write.

Sims family

Davidson, George to Margaret Davidson.

Letter from George Davidson in Aberdeen, Scotland to his wife Margaret in New Aberdeen, C.W., responding to the news of the death of their infant son: "The intelligence was painful, more so than had I been present with you, for altho' my friends here feel deeply with me, still you were awaiting." He speaks of the comfort that their belief offers, and continues: "I thank God that you are living & that I have so near a prospect of meeting you again – how happy I shall be to see you & this feeling is strengthened from the fact that you will be the same regarding me." He will be on the steamer Europa from Liverpool to New York and lists in detail the amount of time it will take to be back in New Aberdeen. (includes envelope sealed with family crest)

Sims family

Davidson, John to George Davidson.

Letter from John Davidson, Fraserburgh, Scotland on October 16, 1848 to his nephew George Davidson, commiserating on the death of George's infant child: "I know that you are of tender heart and will be much affected." John is Assessor and Collector of Road Money in Fraserburgh and as such was out on business when George left for home.

Sims family

Davidson, Alexander to Margaret Davidson.

Letter from Alexander Davidson, Port Elphinstone, dated July 22, 1856, to his niece Margaret Davidson, thanking her for presents sent. He reports on the growth and changes in Aberdeen and area since she had last been there, and lists all his children and what they are doing.

Sims family

Davidson, George to Margaret Davidson.

Letter from George Davidson in Berlin, Ont. Dated 9 ½ o'clock, May 5, 1863 to his wife Margaret who is in Toronto: "The children have gone to bed, and so I sit down – all alone – to write you the promised letter – you will be enjoying yourself with Mrs. Manning over Schedam Sch[illegible] while I poor unfortunate am enjoying myself in thinking how comfortable it will be to go up to a cold bed, and nobody in it. I have just been up stairs Bob & Sandy are in bed the former at the front the latter at the back with space and an extra pillow between for Lizzie who has been managing the children and the affairs of the household at a great rate." He gives Margaret a list of cash payments to make – boys' board, clothes, but also ask her to bring home seed catalogues and stock. A postscript the next morning describes the state of affairs: "Wednesday morning 7 ½ O.C. we have slept and waked – thank God – Lizzie was up about ½ hour ago went down and put [kettle on], is however still in her nightgown sitting on the floor with Sandy playing Jackstones or something of that sort – Bob is up and takes this to the P.O. Very cold rainy morning GD."

Sims family

Sims, Peter Harvey : Salem Woolen Works advertisement.

Letter to Harvey J. Sims dated August 4, 1930 from John R. Connon of Elora, enclosing advertisements for what he describes as "relating to your father's unfortunate venture in the Salem Woollen Mill." Includes an original manuscript copy of an advertisement for the Sims Bros. Salem Woollen Works, and the advertisement as published in the Elora Observer, no. 39 Friday April 17, 1868.

Sims family

Bricker, Rosie to her sister Jemima Cook.

Letter at least partially from Rosie Bricker postmarked Salem, December 1, 1868 to her sister Jemima Cook, about Christmas. Most of the letter seems to be written by another (younger?) sister about social life or lack of it in Elora and Salem with some speculation about the future (includes envelope).

Sims family

Cook, Hannah to Jemima Cook.

Letter from Hannah Cook dated March 4, 1869 to her sister Jemima Cook, with an added note signed "Harriet", probably visiting their sister Rosie Bricker in Salem. Written on lined paper (Includes envelope postmarked Feb. 12, 1869; probably not correct one).

Sims family

Cook, Hannah to Jemima Sims.

Letter from Hannah Cook dated Preston, September 2, 1869 to her sister Jemima "Mrs. P.H." Sims, giving her family and friends' news from Salem and from Preston. Mention of dressmaking, spinning, and good food.

Sims family

Sims, Peter Harvey to his wife Jemima Sims.

Letter from Peter H. Sims from Glenelg, September 18, 1869 to his wife Jemima Sims: "My dear wife
I arrived here safely last night and I Can tell you I was pretty tired. I feel somewhat sore this morning but will be all right soon. There was nothing remarkable happened on the way worthy to being related. When I came in sight of the old House in the moon light I then began to feel lonesome. I felt like turning in and staying all night but I knew you were not there to greet me on my return so I went on to mothers where I got a cup of tea and then went to bed. I slept well for  I was very tired. I begin to see now how lonesome I am going to be without you. No one can supply your place and now you are away I begin to feel it . . . I now bid you good bye with a good hearty kiss.
Hoping to hear from you soon.
I remain your loving husband
P.H. Sims.”
Includes a stamped envelope addressed to Jemima at Flora P.O. (later Floradale) and postmarked Walkerton.

Sims family

Sims, Peter Harvey to his wife Jemima Sims.

Letter from Peter H. Sims dated Salem, October 4, 1869 to his wife Jemima Sims: "I am making every endeavour to get out of the bush country but I cannot do so untill [sic] I collect the accounts and straighten the business somewhat. After I got back I went out collecting but found it was impossible to get any money, consequently I took cattle. By this means I got a dozen together and I then started for Elora to turn them into money, which I will do tomorrow."

Sims family

Sims, Peter Harvey : Travers case.

Correspondence to Peter H. Sims from A. Millar, legal documents, and receipts all relating to action brought against Peter by creditors John Travers and Milton Cushing Schofield.

Sims family

Sims, Peter Harvey to his wife Jemima Sims.

Letter from Peter H. Sims dated Waterloo, July 28, 1876 to his wife Jemima Sims: "I am getting along very well, have plenty to do to keep me from getting lonesome. But when night come and before I retire to rest I feel that I [am] alone and that home would be dreary enough without you . . . What do you think the town has had a visit from Mrs Von Schultis. She is dressed up in wonderful fine style. Black. Silk. Bustles and flounces. I suppose she came to see her children, and get a plan (place?) for her little girl at [B---'s?] I think she has left. She created quite a sensation in town . . . Remember me to Harvey and tell him Pa would like to see him and that I hope he is a good boy. Be careful of the water and do not let him go too close to it. I do not wish to hurry you home but I feel that I would like to see you back sometime next week. I am your loving Husband, Peter."
Letterhead is The Mercantile Fire Insurance Company, President I.E. Bowman, P.H. Sims Secretary.

Sims family

Sims, Peter Harvey to his wife Jemima Sims.

Letter from Peter H. Sims dated Waterloo, September 6, 1876 to his wife Jemima Sims, who is in Montreal visiting Peter's brother James' family. He describes Harvey's distress at her leaving on the boat, his trip home to Berlin, arrangements for Harvey staying with Jemima's sister Rosy, and plans for visiting him the following day. Includes envelope.

Sims family

Sims, Peter Harvey to his wife Jemima Sims.

Letter from Peter H. Sims dated Waterloo, September 8, 1876 to his wife Jemima Sims, who is in Montreal. He is pleased to have received a letter, also that she enjoyed the trip but wants a better description when she gets home. He tells her that Harvey is doing well and that he himself is coping: "I am enjoying myself and have plenty of work to keep me busy. I go down to the place in the evening and am taking up the potatoes, but when night comes and I find I am alone and my thoughts are on you my dear wife. I send you a dozen kisses and I will kiss Harvey for you." Includes envelope.

Sims family

Sims, Peter Harvey to his wife Jemima Sims.

Letter from Peter H. Sims dated Waterloo, September 12, 1876 to his wife Jemima Sims, who is in Montreal: "My Dear Wife, I expected a letter from you yesterday and was much disappointed at not receiving one. However I conclude you are enjoying yourself so much that you can scarcely get time to write me. Yet I have no doubt that Harvey and Pa are the chief objects of your loving heart."

Sims family

Sims, Peter Harvey to his wife Jemima Sims.

Letter from Peter H. Sims dated Waterloo, September 13, 1876 to his wife Jemima Sims, who is in Montreal: "I was glad to hear you are seeing the great sights of the largest city in the Dominion and one of the best built cities on this continent." He gives news of Harvey, family, and friends. Includes envelope.

Sims family

Sims, Peter Harvey to his wife Jemima Sims.

Letter from Peter H. Sims dated Waterloo, September 15, 1876 to his wife Jemima Sims, who is in Montreal. He counsels her not to take too much exercise as she is not strong, and that the Exhibition will be in Montreal that week. "I would like to see my dear wife and I count the days now wishing Tuesday next to [swing?] around as at that time I hope to see you again and clasp you to my heart."

Sims family

McQueen, John to his brother-in-law Peter Harvey Sims.

Letter from John McQueen, Walkerton, to Peter H. Sims: note enclosed in favour of John Robertson, "I have never been well Since I took the medison which caused the fits," also received a letter from Peter's mother asking for money.

Sims family

Davidson, George to Margaret Davidson.

Letter from George Davidson in Toronto, dated June 26, 1879, to his wife Margaret, reporting on treatment he has received in Toronto on his leg, people he has seen and visited, and arrangements for getting home. He underlines "slang" words such as "chimbly" and "cracks" (jokes).

Sims family

Sims, Peter Harvey to his wife Jemima Sims.

Letter from Peter H. Sims dated Guelph, Ontario, May 31, 1880 to his wife Jemima Sims, on the way to Mount Forest where he has been called suddenly. Jemima and the children are not at home; he reassures her that he has left everything locked up, that he is lonely without the family, and that he is downhearted about serious business losses.

Sims family

Davidson, George to Margaret Davidson.

Letter from George Davidson at 100-West 53 St., New York dated May 7, 1880 to his wife Margaret, thanking her for letters received: "I am glad you are well and more than glad that Lizzie has got those ugly teeth out & hope she will now be free from that horrid disease neuralgia." He is having treatments of various sorts for his legs in the hope that he can walk without crutches, treatments that he describes in great detail and mentions that he is rooming with his son Sandy, who adds a page at the end of the letter.

Sims family

Davidson, George to Margaret Davidson.

Letter from George Davidson in New York, dated May 16, 1880 to his wife Margaret, commenting on the number of "pleasure seekers" passing his window on a Sabbath. He mentions that "other people from Berlin are here." He complains that he will be confined to his room as the elevator is out of order, recounts an accident with a chamber pot and complains that his appetite is not good (Includes envelope addressed to Margaret at "Forest Hill, Berlin, Ontario").

Sims family

Kempt, Maggie to Margaret Davidson.

Letter from Maggie Kempt dated Glasgow, April 28, 1881 to her mother Margaret Davidson written after she had received her mother's telegram reporting George Davidson's death the day before: "Your telegram telling us of dear Papa's death, came this morning about eight-o'clock when Irvine and I were dressing, and has made us all very downcast." She expresses her sorrow and sympathy, and also the effects of the technology of the telegram on her feelings: "This is the first telegram I have received across the Atlantic and somehow it seems to bring me nearer home than I have ever felt before. To think that I know today what happened with you yesterday and though the message brought sad news we are pleased you thought of telegraphing."

Sims family

Davidson, Catherine to Margaret Davidson.

Letter from Margaret Davidson's sister-in-law Catherine Davidson from 5 Ann Place, Aberdeen, July 30, 1884 reporting the death of her brother and Margaret's brother-in-law John Davidson (includes envelope addressed to Mrs. Sheriff Davidson at 272 King Street, Toronto).

Sims family

Sims, Peter Harvey : patent correspondence and legal agreements to and from Henry B. Weaver.

Correspondence and agreements relating to a U.S. patent issued to Peter H. Sims and Philip Hohmeier of Waterloo for improvements to a hot air furnace and the transfer of manufacturing rights to Henry B. Weaver of Blue Ball, Pennsylvania. In the first letter of May 6, 1886, A.M. Weaver asks about the "Balm of Life receipt" sent to her by Peter, but wants to know how many ounces of "oil of origanum" are needed.

Sims family

Kempt, Maggie to Margaret Davidson.

Letter from Maggie Kempt dated Wiston Manre [Manor?], Wiston, by Biggar, July 1, 1886 to her mother Margaret Davidson describing her daughter Florence's asthma, and thanking her mother for looking after her son George on his trip to Canada. She sends all the news of visitors from Canada and says of George: "I hope George will be able to go and see our old home when he is in Berlin. Do you know the people that have Forest-Hill? He has heard so much about it that he will be disappointed if he cannot get into the house. You will find George a great politician and a fearful Tory, but I hope he won't display his views too much among a lot of radicals. He says the Canadians are nearly all Radicals." In closing she says "this courting through the telephone must be a novel arrangement."

Sims family

Davidson, Margaret to Florence Roos.

Letter from Margaret Davidson dated Toronto, November 19, 1886 to her granddaughter Florence Roos, sending the news of family doings in Toronto (includes envelope).

Sims family

Kempt, Maggie to Margaret Davidson.

Letter from Maggie Kempt dated Forest-Hill, Glasgow, December 22, 1886 to her mother Margaret Davidson, containing news of the family, her son George's impressions of Canada and that his health has improved (includes envelope).

Sims family

Elsley, Anna C. to her sister Jemima Sims.

Letter from Anna C. Elsley postmarked Breslau, September 27, 1889 to her sister Jemima Sims describing the death of her daughter, "Carrie" on August 19, 1889 (Includes envelope).

Sims family

Argo, Ann to Margaret Davidson.

Letter from Anne Argo, Eden Mills, [date illegible: 1890?] in response to one from Margaret, calling her an old friend and sympathizing in her widowhood. She gives all the news of illnesses and doctoring of family and friends. This letter was enclosed with one to Florence, June 30 1890.

Sims family

Davidson, Margaret to Florence Roos.

Letter from Margaret Davidson dated Toronto, June 30, 1890 to her granddaughter Florence Roos, sending the news of family doings in Toronto. She says she received and encloses a letter from Mrs. Argo for Florence's mother to read, and that if she is well she will be there on Tuesday (includes envelope).

Sims family

Oberholtzer, Clara to her aunt Jemima Sims.

Letter from Clara Oberholtzer dated Alanson, [Michigan], December 10, 1890 to her aunt Jemima Sims reporting on the death of her aunt Angelina Dunham (nee Cook), the grief of Mr. Dunham, and the effect on other family members.

Sims family

Sims, Rella May to Harvey J. Sims.

Waterloo: letter addressed to Harvey in Forest, relaying all the family news, describing their mother's reaction to a newspaper report that Harvey had almost drowned (includes envelope).

Sims family

Bruce, Hattie A. to Margaret Davidson.

Letter from Hattie A. Bruce dated Waterloo June 16, 1892 on behalf of the Ladies' Aid Society, thanking Margaret for her donation and giving her news of friends and family: "I had the pleasure of spending Tuesday evening at Mr. Davidson's watching Emma and a number of her friends going through their Delsarte exercises" (Includes envelope addressed c/o Dr. Davidson, 207 College St., Toronto.)

Sims family

Sims, Peter Harvey to his wife Jemima Sims.

Letter from Peter H. Sims dated Toronto, October 4, 1895 to his wife Jemima Sims: "My dear wife, enclosed find a birthday present from me on this your birthday. As year after year rolls away we come to know each other better and to love each other more and more."

Sims family

Sims, Jemima to Harvey J. Sims.

On hearing a report that Harvey had been struck by a ball, Jemima advises him strongly to give up football as "beneath the dignity of a practicing [sic] barrister" (includes envelope).

Sims family

Sims, Peter Harvey to Harvey J. Sims.

Toronto: nervousness concerning Harvey's arranged yachting trip with "the boys": "You are a daring venturesome boy with not any too much precaution or forethought" (includes envelope and enclosed letter from Mr. Ruby).

Sims family

Sims, Jemima to Harvey J. Sims.

Jemima is glad to hear the news that Harvey has decided to leave the hotel and get a room; also advice on emulating his father's path to success, also to learn German (includes envelope).

Sims family

Sims, Peter Harvey to Harvey J. Sims.

Toronto: congratulating Harvey on finally getting his own room and on being appointed as secretary of the Berlin Board of Trade, advice about making the most of the opportunity: "Aim high, do your duty and you will get there. Do not neglect your reading: There is nothing more necessary in a young man, than that he read best current literature of the day and also the biographies of the world's great and good men."

Sims family

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